When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I was at the home of a friend who attended a local public school. At some point during our pretend play, she said, “I know you’re nice, but your school is full of mean rich kids.” 

I don’t remember how I responded, but the mere fact that I still remember the accusation shows that it made a deep impression. What did she know about my schoolmates? I was pretty sure she hadn’t met any, so what evidence did she have? I knew her statement wasn’t true. I had never encountered any meanness, and just a glance at the aging cars in our parking lot or our second-hand playground equipment could prove that this school wasn’t exactly Beverly Hills. 

The accusation was both baseless and upsetting, but it did do something valuable for me: it made me realize that my school’s place in our community was not a neutral one. People talked. And what they were saying was both false and unkind. 

Fast forward 30+ years, and I wish I could say that the myths have been dispelled and the lies exposed at last. But no. If anything, falsehoods have not only multiplied, they have been amplified to a deafening roar. Thanks in large part to the malicious anonymity of social media, “We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Cor 4:13).  

Welcome to Classical Christian Education in the “Negative World.” Congratulations: You’re the worst. No really, congratulations.

Resistance Training

The growing antagonism toward faithful Christians is part of the world our kids are about to inherit. We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation, and it will be a losing battle unless these kids of ours hit the weight room, so to speak, and feel some resistance while they are still young, still in training. The last thing we should want is kids who are insulated from all opposition—and then collapse with shock at the first hint of slander after graduation.

Jesus told his followers, in no uncertain terms, that the world would hate them because they hate Him (John 15:18–25). If this is true, and it is, then we have to do a better job of equipping our kids to expect the hate as well, even while they’re in school, and to respond rightly. 

I will be among the first to admit that to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when people say “all manner of evil against us,” and to love and pray for our enemies (some of whom may be former friends), are some of the hardest commands to live out. It is a real fight against temptation to be reviled without reviling in return. But we really should be thankful for the chance to turn a profit on these challenges—and to lead by example. 

The weightier the lies foisted on our kids now, the greater the opportunity to train our young people to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12)—to perform a defamation deadlift, if you will.

If people make rude gestures to our kids who show up at the park in their uniforms, or if local activists circulate petitions to prevent our school from moving into a new building, or if lies circulate on social media about our school community or its members, these are moments for showing our kids what it looks like to take heart because we, like the apostles, have been “considered worthy to be dishonored for the sake of the name [of Christ]” (Acts 5:41). 

Heads Up

We simply cannot prevent people from trying to undermine our efforts. It comes with the territory if we endeavor to follow Christ and pursue excellence in all areas of life—including in education. 

If you’re at a small startup with a lot of positive support, or if you’re in a region where Christian and conservative influences remain strong, this whole concept might seem foreign. The local gossips may not even know you exist, or the “negative world” may not have permeated your town. That’s a blessing to enjoy. But as God gives the increase and your impact on the community starts to be felt beyond the walls of church and school, the chance somebody is going to perceive you as a threat also grows. So if it happens, do not let it take you, or your kids, off guard. And do not lose heart.

Lies and false accusations—whether about you or your family, business, church, or school—are just the same worn page from the devil’s playbook that has been used against God’s people for millennia. It’s the only real play a losing team has. So rejoice. And be exceedingly glad. ✤


HANNAH GRIESER is an ACCS alumna and the mother of five sons, including one cancer survivor. She lives in northern Idaho where, in addition to managing her family’s full schedule, she works as a writer and graphic designer. She is the author of numerous articles and of the book The Clouds Ye So Much Dread (Canon Press, 2017).